MUKILTEO — Cascade wasn’t sneaking up on Kamiak during the 4A District 1 tournament’s opening round.
The underdog card was irrelevant after the 6-14 Bruins beat Kamiak early in the year and only lost by two points three weeks ago.
“You see they are not very big, but boy are they quick,” said Kamiak coach Cory West of Cascade. “They are long, and they are scrappy. The thing I would say I took the most (from playing twice already) is not to overlook them.”
The Knights didn’t. They braved Cascade’s aggressive play, utilized their height advantage and earned a much more comfortable 55-42 playoff win at home Thursday.
The win advances the Knights (13-8) to a district semifinal matchup with Monroe at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Marysville Pilchuck. The Bruins (6-15) will face either Glacier Peak or Jackson next in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Everett Community College.
What Cascade offers in speed and quickness, it lacks in height. The Bruins tallest players stand just 6-foot-2. That presented an opportunity for Kamiak to take advantage, and the Knights owned the paint.
Senior 6-foot-7 forward Daniel Sharpe scored 19 points to go with a game-high 12 rebounds, as Kamiak recorded a 39-22 advantage on the boards.
“That’s what I expect of him every night,” said West of Sharpe. “I tell him he should be 15 and 10 every night. The last three games he has been the difference in our games. When he gets his mind right and plays with a motor and just keeps the game simple, it makes the difference.”
Sharpe, as well as others such as Landon Overturf and Braden Leary, will need to be at their best when the Knights face Colby Kyle and the Monroe Bearcats next.
Despite winning by 13, the Bruins hung with Kamiak most of the night.
The Knights led 18-14 at the end of the first and opened the second quarter with a 12-4 run to take a 30-18 lead with 3:59 to play until halftime. Jordan Meyer scored all six of his points during the span.
Cascade’s Dezmond Tyler-Davis kept the Bruins close in the third, scoring 11 of his team’s 13 points. Tyler-Davis finished with a team-high 15, and Kamiak led 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter before the Knights’ defense took over.
Kamiak allowed six fourth-quarter points. Knights guard Carson Tuttle, who matched Sharpe with 19 points, hit a 3-pointer with 2:25 to play that extended Kamiak’s lead to 51-40.
Cascade managed two points the rest of the way.
“That’s all we preach is defense and getting stops,” West said. “That is huge. Our goal is to try to keep people under 12 every quarter, so if we keep them under 10, we are elated.”
Donelle Meriwether was the only other Bruin in double figures. He finished with 10 points.
Patrick Olson recorded two points for Kamiak, but the senior guard pulled down six rebounds and had a pair of emphatic blocked shots.
“I was proud they stuck together,” West said.
“I never saw their high get too high. I never saw their low get too low. They stayed focused on the mission. It’s the playoffs, so every game is going to be that atmosphere.”